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If you are enjoying a peaceful afternoon with the family dog and a scammer calls, just hang up.

How many phone calls did you receive today? Of those, how many were scam calls? So far today I’ve received eight. This is nothing new, but the tricks that scammers use are changing, and we need to be up on all of their tactics to steal our identities and money.

The latest scammer craze is something called tele-transformer. This is step one in the scammer bag of tricks before handing you off to the closers who will pull you into a deal. Sometimes the message will leave a call-back number. Or they’ll claim they’re returning your call, or calling because you recently bought one of their products.

If you answer, a typical message will say, “This is Kristen with benefits advisers calling on a recorded line. How are you today?” No matter what you say, they launch into their spiel, sometimes about Medicare, sometimes about Social Security, or your mortgage or your student loan, or car insurance, your disability or senior-living home improvement. The range of topics is long.

Just hang up. With other types of calls, however, what they’re looking for is “yes.” With that simple word, they can steal your identity and your money. Here’s how it works: The first question they usually ask is “Can you hear me?” What they want is for you to say “yes.” Sometimes the question is “Are you having a good day?” or “Is this X?” if they have your real name. Do not say “Yes”!

Once they have a recording of that one word from you, they’re free to do all kinds of things. They can sign you up for a service or send items to you in the mail. They have proof, they claim, that you agreed to those ... because they have your “yes” recorded in your own voice! Just hang up.  

Senior News Line © 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.

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